'I will break a world record again,' says Usian Bolt

'I will break a world record again,' says Usian Bolt
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Usain Bolt at the launch of Puma Ignite in New York’s Times Square.

Maybe it's the energy of the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Piano Man, hotdog carts and Ali versus Frazier at the Madison Square Garden.

It could have been all about the flexing of his famous ego and confidence.

Or maybe Usain Bolt decided it was high time to send a resounding message to his rivals, especially American sprint machine Justin Gatlin, who ran six of the seven fastest 100m times last year.

After unveiling Puma's Ignite running shoes above bustling Times Square on a frigid Tuesday night (yesterday morning, Singapore time), Bolt raised temperatures when he declared to The New Paper: "Definitely sometime in the next two years (2016 and 2017), my last two seasons, I will definitely break a world record again."

Despite hamming it up for the cameras as a human emoticon with his variety of comical expressions, and talking to 10 groups of media from around the globe for over an hour as if he was an old friend, the 28-year-old Jamaican was deadly serious about producing more physics-defying records.

Continuing his conversation with TNP, he said: "I want to run a sub-19 for the 200 metres.

"Every time I talk about it, I get excited so that's one thing I want to do all the time.

That's the one thing that drives me to continue doing so great, so that's one of my goals.

"And another three gold medals at Rio 2016, that's the masterplan.

"Triple-triple sounds awesome ainnit !

"It's never been done before and that's what I want to do. If I can get this season through injury-free, I should be good.

CONFIDENT

"As long as I'm fit, I'm confident I can win and beat anybody."

That's Bolt throwing down the gauntlet to Gatlin and countryman Yohann Blake and the young British contingent of Chijindu Ujah, James Dasaolu and Adam Gemili, among others, a little over a year from the Olympic Games in Rio.

There must be something about New York that brings out the best in the world's fastest man.

There must be something about iconic cities and Bolt.

New York is where he clocked his first world record in 2008, when he ran the 100 in 9.72 at the Reebok Grand Prix in the Icahn Stadium as a 22- year-old.

Beijing is where he won the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay gold medals at the 2008 Olympics.

He then rocked the world when he clocked 9.58 and 19.19 in the 100 and 200, respectively, a year later at the World Championships in Berlin.

At the 2012 Olympics in London, he dominated once again in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay events to seal his place as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Bolt completed only 400 metres worth of races last year due to foot and hamstring injuries.

Fully recovered, he will open his 2015 season on Valentine's Day when he will run in the 400m event at the Camperdown Classic at home in Jamaica.

While he started his track and field career as a 400 runner, and once stated his desire to break Michael Johnson's transcendent mark of 43.18s set in 1999, Bolt ended all talk of it when he said yesterday: "I should put on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that I will never run a 400 ever again because people keep asking me, but it won't happen.

"(As for the upcoming race) I have no choice. I will try to get out of it, but I don't think I will.

"My season has always started with 400m, as long as I am not injured.

"It's just something Jamaican runners do (at the start of the season) - if you are a 400m runner, you run 800m, if you run 800m, you run 1,500m, it always goes up."

He reiterated his plan to retire after the 2017 World Championships in London, and he intends to go out with a bang, even if his last race ends in defeat.

"Can you imagine that," he asked, referencing Zinedine Zidane's headbutt on Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final, which Italy won on penalties.

LEGACY

"Me and my coach were talking about legacy just the other day," said Bolt.

"You can win 50 championships, but that last one is the one that is going to define your legacy.

"It's scary but it's true.

"Zinedine Zidane is the greatest thing and everyone remembers him for that one mistake he made, that's one thing that will stick in his career forever.

"My coach tells me he knows I love to compete but the one thing that should also drive me is defending my legacy until I retire."

Known for hating training - "I'm slow at everything else except running, and I give myself Saturdays off sometimes" - Bolt has been working harder than ever before to try and ensure a rousing end to his athletic career.

Revealing he would run only the 100 and 4x100m relay events at the 2017 World Championships, Bolt will gun for one last world record in his final race.

"Most championships are likely to end with the 4x100," he said.

"So even if I don't break the world record in the 100, even if I just win that without a record, it will be awesome to break the world record in the 4x100 as a send-off."

After retiring at 31, Bolt hopes to never work again.

He says he wants to "travel di world".

"I've met so many people and they keep asking me have I been to Thailand, or Mexico, and I'm like no.

"So when I retire, I'll just travel a lot, go to different places and see different things just to experience and be able to say I've been there and I've done this," said Bolt, who will continue to be a Puma ambassador after he hangs up his sprinting shoes.

"There are many things out there to experience so I'm just trying to put everything in place, make enough money so I can travel without working."

The world's fastest man could well be coming to a place near you.

David's trip to New York is sponsored by Puma.

Bolt loves a grand entrance

Puma Ignite features brand new foam technology that makes it a most responsive running shoe.

Ignite Foam is a proprietary foam that provides high-energy return, comfort and optimal durability.

Strategically placed in the heel of the shoe is ForEverFoam, a revolutionary innovation that gives the shoe maximum durability.

In the energy hub of New York City, runners powered away on treadmills in Times Square throughout the day with the energy from their Puma Ignite shoes being collected and stored.

When the threshold reached 100 per cent at around 7pm (New York time), the world's fastest man rose up in a dazzling combination of light, smoke and fire.

Said Bolt: "I've always enjoyed a good entrance, and this one was epic.

"People were running for hours on end in really cold weather, we were watching the energy meter rise.

Ignite is a great running shoe, along with Puma spikes, I spend a lot of time training in this shoe as well and it really helps to sustain my energy levels. I love Ignite for that.

"I'm excited to be back here in New York with Puma.

I have special memories of this city - I always have a great time whenever I'm here, whether I'm competing or otherwise."

Puma Ignite will be in stores on March 12.

davidlee@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 12, 2015.
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